News Briefs: City official fired; restaurateur dies; new playground

Mayor Kasim Reed speaks during the ribbon cutting for the new playground at Atlanta Memorial Park. (Photo courtesy Yolanda Adrean).

The AJC reports that Bettina Anjanete Gardner, deputy director of international affairs for the City of Atlanta, was arrested Jan. 19 and charged with disorderly conduct while under the influence after an alleged run in with managers at the Hard Rock Cafe in Downtown. Gardner is no longer employed by the city.

Richard Thomas — founder of  R. Thomas Deluxe Grill, Bojangles and the first President at Kentucky Fried Chicken — passed away Wednesday, according to a report from What Now Atlanta.

Mayor Kasim Reed and the Department of Parks and Recreation held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday to celebrate the new Atlanta Memorial Park playground in Buckhead. The City of Atlanta invested $200,000 toward the new development and an additional $200,000 was raised by the Atlanta Memorial Conservancy through a combination of grants and private donors. The new playscape playground features modernized equipment and several nature-themed elements that were based upon feedback from the community. In addition, a legacy grant from Park Pride funded new amenities surrounding the playground including newly-installed benches, picnic tables and bike racks. Future improvements in the park will include a new five-foot sidewalk, stormwater drainage improvements west of Northside Drive and a bridge which will complete the PATH loop around the Bobby Jones Golf Course connecting pedestrians to the Atlanta Beltline.

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